Empowerment Through Music

Member to Member

Volume 119, No. 5May, 2019

Mariana Ramirez

The band MARIPOSA (which includes Local 802 member Mariana Ramirez on percussion, pictured above at far right) is performing at women’s shelters with the goal of empowering women.

Living in New York City is fantastic for many reasons, but one that’s particularly at the forefront is the city’s rich, varied and vibrant music scene. As one of the two Mexican women percussionists/drummers currently on Broadway, I initially landed here to pursue my dream, like countless other artists do on a daily basis. After experiencing different music styles and playing with different groups, I got in touch with Myriam Phiro, the founder, bandleader and singer of MARIPOSA. I was inspired by her vision to encourage people from all walks of life  – especially women – to take a less traditional road, all while saluting the pioneers who did.

I became a member of MARIPOSA about a year ago with the hopes of making a difference with my music. Growing up in Mexico, I didn’t have many female role models to look up to. I wish minorities were more supported and represented in the arts! Music can inspire tolerance, understanding and love, which is needed more than ever. This is why a band like MARIPOSA can make a tangible difference.

The ensemble brings together musicians from five different countries and cultural backgrounds. I love that our cultural diversity is what we share in common, along with our mutual devotion to music and social justice! After a successful concert series at City Winery, the Iridium, Club Bonafide and City Vineyard, we are now planning a tour to deliver our strong message of empowerment to people in dire need of hearing it.

Myriam developed the idea of a tour that included performances at shelters and group homes for women (including young women). This tour was originally planned for Women’s History Month (which takes place each March), but this kind of outreach is always needed, year-round! We know that the women who are finding safety in those shelters could be any one of us.

On our tour, we want to feature empowering repertoire written or made famous by female composers or performers. By a show of example and a strong message, we know our music will have the power to help countless of women in need.

We’re excited to announce that our first performance is happening at the Women in Need Center this month.  Starting with a NYC-based organization is important to us since this city is where it all began for our band. We believe music has a great power to heal and bring people together. As a result, we will be able to help countless women focus on the positive, reconnect with their inner strength and find a sense of purpose in their own lives.

My bandleader Myriam’s motivation is very contagious. Nowadays, we see more and more women in greater positions of leadership and it is very encouraging. As an all-female group, we want to do our part. In a society like ours, we need to deliver our message loud and clear: empowerment makes us look at our similarities rather than at our differences. Musically speaking, we also have a great year in store. We will be presenting some original songs that reflect our five different cultural backgrounds and experiences. This tour will culminate during Women’s History Month 2020 and we’re very much looking forward to it all!

We want to be the change we want to see. A lot of great female players are starting to stand out on the music scene and being given chances. We hope to see the same thing happen all around!

To follow our progress (or to make a donation), please see

Mariana Ramirez has been a member of Local 802 since 2016. Her website is